Hearing loops broadcast sound from a sound source wirelessly to hearing aids. All users need to do is switch their hearing aid to the telecoil or Mic + telecoil mode. Hearing loops provide phenomenal hearing in situations where poor acoustics, reduced word discrimination and auditory processing problems would have made understanding nearly impossible.
Information about this “directly hearing aid-compatible” assistive listening has recently been featured in Scientific American, as a cover story in the Hearing Review, on NPR’s Science Friday, and in other print media. Mark Ross has written extensively about the benefits of telecoils as have Doug Beck and Preben Brunved. Sergei Kochkin of the Better Hearing Institute has long advocated for increased utility of hearing aids and envisions a future with “miniaturized wireless receivers in every hearing aid”.
How to get in the loop you ask? For starters read how Dr. David Myers, who uses hearing aids, brought hearing loops to his community. Read about my efforts in Wisconsin on the BHI website and in Women . In our Fox Valley Hearing Center practice we familiarize each patient with the telecoil, providing a hearing loop handout with area installations on the back and taking 5 minutes to demonstrate the loop in the waiting room.
I offer the let’s loop America’s Worship Centers article to anyone willing to bring loop technology to the attention of their church council. My patients delight in doing the latter! It is easy to bring attention to hearing loops in your community by presenting a “Get in the Loop” lecture to service or Sertoma clubs , church groups and local HLAA chapters. The American Academy of Audiology offers a free PowerPoint slide show and fact sheet. Donate a hearing loop to your local Senior Center.
Unlike smaller loops that are designed for a single room, large area hearing loops must meet IEC 60118-4 standard and require trained hearing loop vendors. If there is no installer in your area, you might be able to interest a local A/V contractor with this Sound & Communications article. Two years ago there were no trained hearing loop installation companies in Wisconsin; now there are nearly a dozen!
This blog post was contributed by Dr. Juliette Sterkens, AuD, an audiologist and owner of Fox Valley Hearing Center, Inc. in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She was honored in 2011 by the Wisconsin Speech & Hearing Association as the Audiologist of the Year and recently awarded the prestigious President’s Award at the 2011 AudiologyNow Annual Convention in Chicago for her efforts in looping America. For more information and answers to your questions about hearing loops, please contact Dr. Sterkens directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org